Enlarge / Volkswagen AG Turbocharged Direct Injection (TDI) vehicles sit parked in a storage lot at San Bernardino International Airport (SBD) at dusk in San Bernardino, California, U.S., on Wednesday, April 5, 2017.
Volkswagen agreed last year to buy back about 500,000 diesels that it rigged to pass U.S. emissions tests if it can’t figure out a way to fix them.
In the meantime, the company is hauling them to storage lots, such as ones at an abandoned NFL stadium outside Detroit, the Port of Baltimore and a decommissioned Air Force base in California. Photographer: Patrick T.

Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images (credit: Getty Images)
James Liang, a California-based engineer who was Volkswagen’s Leader of Diesel Competence during the time when the company installed emissions control-cheating software on millions of vehicles, was sentenced to 40 months in prison and two years of supervised release on Friday. Liang, 63, pleaded guilty last September to defrauding the US, committing wire fraud, and violating the Clean Air Act.
In his guilty plea, Liang attested that Volkswagen gave him and his colleagues a mandate to build a new diesel engine for sale in the US. When the engineers realized they couldn’t build the engine to meet the US’ emissions standards, Liang and his colleagues designed software to help the car recognize when it was being tested for emission compliance and turn on the control system that would otherwise be off during normal driving. “VW tasked Liang with making the defeat device work by calibrating it to recognize specific US emissions tests’ drive cycles,” the Justice Department (DOJ) wrote in a press release.
Liang also said he personally attended meetings with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and deceived those regulators by omitting the fact that the new VW diesel models were in not compliance with emissions standards.

Additionally, he “admitted that he helped his co-conspirators continue to lie to the EPA, CARB, and VW customers even after the regulatory agencies started raising questions about the vehicles’ on-road performance,” the DOJ said.
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